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The Saturday Wife: A Novel

The Saturday Wife: A Novel

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The Saturday Wife: A Novel

avaliações:
3/5 (9 avaliações)
Comprimento:
415 página
7 horas
Lançado em:
Oct 14, 2008
ISBN:
9781429917759
Formato:
Livro

Descrição

Bestselling author Naomi Ragen mixes poignant storytelling and irreverent wit with her talent for creating finely drawn characters in this tale of a young Rabbi's wife who slowly begins to unravel under the incessant and unreasonable demands of her congregation, her faith, and her life.

Beautiful, blonde, materialistic Delilah Levy steps into a life she could have never imagined when in a moment of panic she decides to marry a sincere Rabbinical student. But the reality of becoming a paragon of virtue for a demanding and hypocritical congregation at an Orthodox synagogue in the suburbs leads sexy Delilah into a vortex of shocking choices which spiral out of control into a catastrophe which is as sadly believable as it is wildly amusing.

Told with immense warmth, fascinating insight, and wicked humor, The Saturday Wife depicts the pitched and often losing battle of all of us as we struggle to hold on to our faith and our values amid the often delicious temptations of the modern world.

Lançado em:
Oct 14, 2008
ISBN:
9781429917759
Formato:
Livro

Sobre o autor

NAOMI RAGEN's novels include The Ghost of Hannah Mendes, The Covenant, The Sisters Weiss, and The Devil in Jerusalem, and have been international bestsellers. Her weekly email columns on life in the Middle East are read by thousands of subscribers worldwide. An American, she has lived in Jerusalem for the past forty years and was voted one of the three most popular authors in Israel.

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The Saturday Wife - Naomi Ragen

It is not an easy thing for an Orthodox Jewish girl to be saddled with the name of a Gentile temptress responsible for destroying a famous Jewish hero. When Delilah’s father filled in her name on the Hebrew Academy day school application form, the rabbi/administrator assumed it was a mistake, a feeble attempt on the part of some clueless, nonreligious Jew to find a Hebrew equivalent for Delia or Dorothy:

You are aware, Mr. Goldgrab, that, in the Bible, Delilah seduced Samson and is considered a wicked whore by our sages? he pointed out, as gently as he could.

Well, now, you don’t say? Delilah’s father drawled, his six-foot-two-inch frame towering over the little man, who nervously clutched his skullcap. Just so happens it was my mother’s name.

Our first meeting with Delilah was in second grade out on the punch-ball fields of the Hebrew Academy of Cedar Heights on Long Island. Punchball was a Jewish girl’s baseball without the bat. You just made the hardest fist you could and wham!—started to run. When you hit that rubber ball, you took out all your anger, all your angst, all your frustration. You ran and ran and ran and ran, hoping you’d hit it hard enough so that no one could catch it or you and send you back to first base—or, worse, throw you out of the game altogether.

The privilege of hitting the punchball was not to be taken for granted. Each recess, teams were picked anew by captains, who were, by mutual agreement, the prettiest and richest girls in the class. Everyone who wanted to play lined up and just waited for the magic summons. And as in life, some girls—like rich, snobby Hadassah Mittelman—were always the captains, and some girls, like me, were never asked to play. Never.

We knew who we were and finally slipped away. But there were others—like Delilah—who sometimes made it in. Girls like her always had it the hardest. To almost make it was a far crueler fate that to be permanently relieved of hope.

The world was a simple place back then, neatly divided between those of us who got the little blue admission cards in the mail at the start of each new term because our parents had paid the full tuition and those who got them at the last minute, only after much parental groveling and pleading had pried them from the tightfisted grip of the merciless rabbi/administrator in charge. It was a world divided between those who had cashmere sweaters and indulgent fathers who dropped them off at school in their big cars because they lived in even more upscale neighborhoods farther out on the island and those who shivered in scratchy wool on public buses coming from the opposite direction.

Delilah took the bus, but she also had a cashmere sweater, the most glorious color pink, that seemed to float around her shoulders like angel hair. Rumor had it that her mother had actually knitted it for her from scratch, a rumor that cruelly denied her the status conferred by ownership.

This was no doubt true. Mrs. Goldgrab was a woman of scary heaviness, with bad skin and glasses with rhinestone frames that made her eyes contract into hard river stones. She worked a forty-hour week in some low-level office job that computers have permanently wiped off the employment map, and in her spare time, was a seething cauldron of unfulfilled social ambitions, thwarted at every turn by impassable roadblocks. One of the largest was her husband: a tall, lanky man with a shocking Texas accent who worked as a mechanic in a local car repair shop. If anyone ever ran into him in his uniform and mentioned it, Delilah was mortified. Over the years, she adopted the same attitude toward him as her mother: he was something she had to put up with, but he wasn’t an asset.

From the beginning, Mrs. Goldgrab had plans for Delilah. Big plans. She wanted her to be popular with the right girls. To be invited to their birthday parties. She hoped to be able to drop her off at Tudor mansions in Woodmere and be casually invited in for coffee, where she would chitchat with the mothers who wore pearls and Ann Taylor suits even on weekends, women who existed—along with the longed-for invitations—only in her lower-middle-class imagination. Even Hadassah’s mother wore jeans on weekends. And no one wanted to chitchat with Mrs. Goldgrab, not even her husband.

We always envied Delilah that sweater—to this day. Except that now we understand it had meant nothing to her. What she had wanted was a store-bought sweater, the kind Hadassah Mittelman wore. In fact, she wanted to be Hadassah Mittelman, the rabbi’s beautiful daughter, who lived in a house with a full suit of armor standing in her hallway, guarding the grand staircase upstairs to her designer bedroom, with its ruffled canopy bed. Delilah didn’t want to visit that house. She wanted to move in. Maybe we all did in those days. The difference was that Delilah never got over it.

So before you judge her for the horrible things she did, please try to remember this: All Delilah Goldgrab Levi ever really wanted was to be included when they called out the names of those who were allowed to play.

The thing people never understood about Delilah was that she always considered herself the victim of a painfully disadvantaged childhood, something that mystified her hardworking, upwardly mobile parents. There were few who knew how deeply she mourned her endless humiliations: winter clothes chosen from picked-over reduced racks in January sales instead of shiny new in autumn; a sweet sixteen celebrated in a bowling alley instead of in a hotel with a live band; Passover seders at home prepared by her sweating mother instead of in the dining room of exclusive resorts; summers lying on the public beach instead of trips to Israel and Europe. A childhood of last year’s Nikes, drugstore sunglasses, fifteen-dollar haircuts, and do-it-yourself French manicures whose white line was always crooked. . . .

On the rare occasions that she sat in self-judgment, such as before the Yom Kippur fast, she never felt these longings marked her as selfish, materialistic, or shallow. On the contrary, she considered herself an idealist, someone focused on the really important things in life: true happiness, true love. As she saw it, she was simply being honest with herself. And someone who really loved her would be the kind of person who would stop at nothing to help her overcome the trauma of her youth, her mother’s cheap fashion accessories—those fake pearls, those nine-karat gold amethyst rings. Someone who really loved her would understand and appreciate how profoundly she needed a house, not an apartment, preferably with a swimming pool, in addition to business-class jaunts to five-star resorts in the Caribbean and Hawaii.

She felt this way despite all the best efforts of our synagogue and schooling to convince us of the fleeting worth of material things, as opposed to the eternal reward—in this life and the next—of spiritual attainments.

In general, Delilah’s relationship to religion was somewhat complex. She wasn’t a natural rebel. She actually loved the elaborate meals, the dressing up for the synagogue, the socializing afterward. On the other hand, she absolutely refused to accept the fact that bearded rabbis had the right to decide for her how long her skirts and sleeves would be, what she could and couldn’t read, or watch on TV or in the movies, or what kind of dates she could have (i.e., serious ones, leading to early marriages, as opposed to frivolous recreational ones like riding roller coasters in Playland).

Like most people, she snipped and tugged and restitched her religion to make it a more comfortable fit. She didn’t feel guilty about this. Why should she, she told herself, when the rabbis themselves had done a good deal of tailoring? Take the relationship between the sexes. On the one hand, the Bible taught that men and women were both created in God’s image as equals, but on the other, Jewish law was male chauvinist in the extreme, notwithstanding millennia of rabbinical apologetics to disprove the obvious.

Men were the leaders, high priests, rabbis, judges. While rabbis claimed that they were simply expounding on eternal laws derived from God-given sacred texts, the laws always seemed to come out to the men’s advantage. For example, sitting shiva. During the seven days of mourning for a parent, wife, or child, rabbinical law said a man wasn’t permitted to do anything; he had to be served and taken care of. But if a woman was sitting shiva—surprise!—the same law said she was allowed to get up and wash the floor and cook dinner.

Despite these feelings, Delilah never considered herself a feminist, refusing to join those of us who railed against being banned from donning a prayer shawl and phylacteries or from learning Talmud. She’d just roll her eyes and yawn. That’s all I need. More religious obligations.

The biblical heroines she admired were not the tough, powerful matriarchs, but Esther, who’d soaked in precious bath oils for six months, mesmerizing the king and becoming queen of Persia; and Abigail, who sent war-weary King David camel-loads of food and drink, thereby giving her tightfisted husband, Nabal, a fatal heart attack, thus leaving herself rich and free to marry David, which she was only too happy to do. To Delilah’s thinking, these were stories with a deeply spiritual message for women.

Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir bored her. Equal wages were all right, but it was better if your husband earned enough so that you never, ever had to work if you didn’t want to. Truth be told, her vision of the perfect world would have been a party in Gone with the Wind where women wore ball gowns to barbecues and men brought them plates of delicious food; a place where all women had to do was smile and be pretty and men fell all over themselves to please and amuse them.

All through high school, Delilah was in training for this role. If only you could have seen her then: those manicured toenails with the red polish so carefully applied, those tanned slim thighs, the blond hair braided in cornrows with turquoise beads, the tiny bathing suit like two slashes of color, the eyes that flashed at you like tanzanite, deep blue flecked with gold. She was so deliciously slim, so adorably sexy, it made you stop and stare, the way one stares at a flashy lightning storm or a gaudy tropical sunset. And she knew it.

How could she not? Men and boys flocked around her, and she giggled and flirted indiscriminately with all of them, even the young Puerto Rican janitors hired to clean the floors and bathrooms of the Hebrew Academy of Cedar Heights.

Everyone does exactly as they please, she’d say cryptically, tossing her head. Even the ones who parade around showing off their holiness with all those head coverings and fringed garments, yarmulkes and wigs. Secretly, they also do exactly what they want and find excuses afterward. When we protested mildly, she told us to grow up.

While we had all more or less decided by the end of high school what we wanted to be, Delilah remained vague. Her mother wanted her to take some education courses and become a teacher. But something as small and unimaginative as that wouldn’t suit her at all, she said. Besides, she didn’t like the outfits or the hair and makeup that went with it. You couldn’t get away with much in front of a class full of yeshiva kids with a rabbi/principal peeking in on you every few hours. And what if the kids asked you questions, let’s say, about the Resurrection of the Dead? Or if the Messiah was coming? She knew she was supposed to believe with perfect faith, but honestly, she had never been able to get her head around such ideas. What, would they come out of their graves, like in The Night of the Living Dead? Or like that mangled factory-worker who comes knocking on his parents’ door in The Monkey’s Curse?

And this Messiah. Did he know he was the Messiah? A person is born, gets toilet trained, eats hamburgers, and then—what, finds out he’s going to bring peace to the world and change all human life as we know it? Would it be like Moses and the burning bush, where you are just minding your own business trying to keep the sheep from falling off a cliff when God suddenly calls your name and gives you your assignment? But then, how could you tell it was true and you weren’t just another candidate for lithium?

She could always be a public school teacher, she supposed. But everyone knew the Teachers’ Union stuck new teachers in hellholes in Brooklyn and the South Bronx, places where a white Jewish blonde getting into a new car was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. She tried to envision herself like Michelle Pfeiffer in that movie where she gets all the drug-addicted Puerto Ricans to become honor students because she’s so tough, but kind and she really, really believes in them. But she couldn’t imagine working in a public school and not wearing pants, which the rabbis absolutely forbade and which she still hadn’t figured a way around. Michelle could never have worked those miracles in a skirt with all that sitting up on the desk with her legs crossed.

The decision to enroll at Bernstein Women’s College, affiliated with the well-known Bernstein Rabbinical College, had been made after long discussions with friends and counselors. Although the tuition was thousands of dollars a year and she could have gone to any city college for free, she was advised by all that she wouldn’t like city colleges. They were too big, too impersonal, full of public high school riffraff. There was no social life. The bottom line was she was afraid to venture out, despite her bravado, from the sheltered yeshiva day school environment she had known, to face the real world, where her new sophistication would be laughed at by hip young New Yorkers who slept together and indulged in drugs and all kinds of other perversions she could only just imagine with equal parts loathing and envy.

But there was one thing you had to give Bernstein, the one true incontrovertible fact which made all those student loans a worthwhile investment: it was turning out to be one, long shidduch date.

Everyone was a matchmaker: the girls, the teachers, the teacher’s cousins, the girls’ cousins. It was the official bride pool for Bernstein Rabbinical College as well as Yeshiva University, with its well-regarded medical and law school, a fact well-known to all the parents shouldering the burden of their daughters’ unjustified and outlandish tuition.

Many of the girls were out-of-towners from tiny Jewish communities where available religious Jewish men were either under ten or over forty. Enrolling at Bernstein rescued them from horrible Young Israel weekends in Catskill hotels and being relentlessly pursued by the proverbial kosher butcher from Milwaukee: over thirty, overweight, and oversexed. Here, in a relaxed and respectable atmosphere, every Ruchie could find her Moishe. And vice versa.

The out-of-towners were usually the sheltered daughters of rabbis, pretty and sweet and innocent, with very little dating experience. Most of them had endured at least a year of long-distance courtships in which relatives and friends and professionals had found matches for them in places like Monsey, Brooklyn, or Baltimore. The dates arranged necessitated expensive cross-country plane trips, a situation that understandably left most of them languishing in solitary gloom on Saturday nights. When they moved into the dorms at Bernstein, they thought they’d died and gone to heaven.

In contrast, the native New Yorkers, used to a plethora of possibilities, found the fix-ups from Bernstein and Yeshiva University left much to be desired. Most of the guys were short and pale and wore glasses. They showed up dressed like they were on their way to a Rabbinical Council of America convention. Moreover, most were victims of severe rabbinical brainwashing on the subject of physical contact with the opposite sex outside of marriage. The negiah, or touching laws, were basically one loud NO! NOT ANYPLACE, ANY TIME, ANY BODY PART, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! This left some of the young men severely challenged on this subject, making Delilah feel as if she had a rare communicable disease. Even the most adventurous managed little more than casually stretching an arm out onto the back of her subway seat.

Gee, that was a thrill.

Some, at least, had looked normal enough: a crocheted skullcap, a nice sweater over an open-collared shirt. There was one universal problem, though. Anyone willing to be fixed up was almost always someone who couldn’t find a date on his own. And for good reason.

Delilah kept on going, though, always allowing herself to be persuaded by the hard or soft sell of the people who were setting her up, that this one was different. And why shouldn’t she trust them? After all, they had nothing to gain from making her miserable. In fact, most of them were involved in matchmaking because they considered it a good deed. Indeed, there is a widely held belief among religious Jews that achieving three successful matches earns one a free entry pass to the best neighborhoods in the World to Come.

The system in Bernstein worked this way: The guys would come into the dorm lobby and give their name and the name of the girl they were taking out to the housemother, who would then call up to the girl’s room, announcing him. The girl would then come down to the lobby and tell the housemother the name of the boy. Sometimes, seeing the girl who spoke his name, the boy would sit perfectly still until he could quietly slip out the front door.

It was quite a show. When she had nothing better to do on a Saturday night, Delilah delighted in hanging around the lobby to watch. Which is how she got involved with Yitzie Polinsky.

The boy was striking: tall and very slim, with broad shoulders and thick rock-star hair that fell adorably over his eyes. He wore a dark skullcap that melted right in and was hardly noticeable at all. His jeans were faded in all the right places, and to top it off he had on a black turtleneck and a kind of bomber jacket of brown leather.

You could tell the housemother didn’t approve at all. But when he gave her his name, her eyes lit up: the son of the very famous Rabbi Menachem Polinsky of Crown Heights. The housemother pushed her reading glasses to the top of her gray wig, looked him over again, lips pursed, and then shrugged. Allowances had to be made. She called up to the girl.

Delilah recognized her name: Penina Gwertzman, a cute little out-of-towner from Kansas or some other impossibly goyish place. Petite, with long dark hair and an ample figure, she was from a very religious family and had been carefully brought up. Yitzie wasn’t her type at all. He was Delilah’s type.

She watched as Yitzie’s eyes took in Penina’s body in long, slow strokes. Satisfied, he smiled and got up, sauntering over to her, his hands in his pockets. The nearer he got, the more Penina tugged nervously at her long pleated skirt, as if willing it to grow a few more inches.

What a waste, Delilah thought, watching them walk out together into the night, already making plans.

In the morning, Delilah made inquiries. I heard Penina went out last night with Yitzie Polinsky, she mentioned casually to her roommate, Rivkie. How did it go?

Rivkie, who had not a suspicious bone in her body and who considered any kind of gossip a mortal sin and so never listened to or repeated anything of value, said she thought she’d heard something not so good about it. Coming from such a source, Delilah knew it was going to be major, major breaking news.

She knocked on a few doors of reliable yentas and got the goods: a disastrous date that had ended scandalously, with tears and angry phone calls and possible repercussions for Yitzie, who was slated to follow in his father’s footsteps, if only he could shed his yeshiva-bum reputation.

Yes! Delilah thought, thrilled.

She settled her face into the right lines of worry and concern and knocked on Penina’s door. I just heard. Are you all right?

The girl’s big, obviously cried-out eyes, welled. Does everybody know?

Delilah took a step back. No! It’s just that I happened to be waiting down in the lobby and saw him come in. I mean, that leather jacket. . . . He looked a little dangerous to me, so I asked to make sure you were OK.

Penina’s face was stiff.

It’s just . . . I’ve had some bad experiences myself.

The girl suddenly melted into an angry puddle of damp emotions.

It wasn’t my fault!! she cried passionately. They told me he was a brilliant Torah scholar from a very important family, who was going to take over his father’s congregation one day soon. She blinked and two large tears rolled down her fresh pink cheeks.

Delilah caught her breath in joy. "What . . . did something . . . happen?

"He said he was taking me to the Village. I didn’t know what village! I thought he meant Boro Park. But it wasn’t. . . . I didn’t see a single Jew. Then he took me inside some restaurant. But it wasn’t a kosher deli or anything. It was really dark. And I didn’t see anybody eating, or smell pickles—you know. It smelled like . . . liquor. There was a stage, and some girl with very uncombed frizzy hair was singing! Imagine, Yitzie Polinsky—the son of Rebbe Polinsky, who everyone calls a saint, who is known to be so stringently pious people are terrified of him and they worship him—imagine his son listening to a woman’s voice, which everybody knows is forbidden! Anyway, we sat down at this little table. I couldn’t see a thing. So—she wiped her eyes, taking a deep breath—at first I thought I was imagining it, but then I realized he had his hand on my knee. And then he put his other hand on my shoulder, and his fingers started playing with my hair and then moved underneath my collar. . . ."

Delilah bit the inside of her cheek, handing the girl a tissue. Oh! She shook her head in outraged sympathy. The creep. She waited impatiently what she hoped was a suitable moment of commiseration. And then what happened? she asked eagerly.

Penina’s eyes looked up over the tissue with sudden suspicion. What do you mean? Of course I told him to take me back immediately!

Oh, yes. Of course, of course! That’s exactly what I . . . thought. Meant. I mean, what else could you do? Did he?

Penina stared down at the tissue, then blew her nose again miserably. He said he had to make a phone call first. I waited and waited, but he never came back. I wound up paying the check, and I didn’t even have enough money left to take a taxi! I had to use the subway. I was petrified! She sobbed.

Delilah made an O with her lips and held it. I have a good mind to call him up and tell him off. You wouldn’t happen to have his phone number, would you?

You would do that? For me? But we hardly even know each other!

Doesn’t our holy Torah tell us, ‘Before a blind man put no obstacle’? It’s my sacred religious duty. We wouldn’t want another innocent young girl to go out and have such an experience, would we? I mean, he has to be stopped!

Penina blinked. Sharona Gottleib fixed me up. She said her grandmother was friends with his grandmother. . . . I’ll never speak to her again!

Delilah sighed heavily. I understand. She patted the girl’s soft white hand with its little fourteen-carat birthstone ring from Mommy and Daddy. I will talk to Sharona. Trust me, I know exactly how to handle this.

Penina stared at her, her eyes welling once again. You would do that? For me? Meet with him and tell him off?

Delilah patted the little hand. "Kol Yisrael aravim zeh le zeh." All Israel is responsible one for the other.

She found out where his father’s shul was and arranged to sleep over at a friend’s house nearby. She wore a demure outfit that covered everything. Still, she sensed the cold eyes of matronly disapproval pointed like lasers at the top of her blond head to the bottom of her spiked heels as she walked down the narrow aisle of the women’s section in Reb Menachem Polinsky’s synagogue. She took a seat near the high mechitzah—the religiously mandated barrier piously separating the men from the women. It ran the entire length of the synagogue, giving the men almost the entire room, and confining the women to a small, cramped space. As usual, the more Orthodox the synagogue, the more demeaning and uncomfortable the women’s section. Still, she was just grateful that at least she was in the same room with Yitzie, as some stringency kings had created synagogues where the women were shunted off to side rooms in completely different parts of the building, where only a handful could see or hear anything. Discreetly, she lifted the little curtain and peered inside at the men’s section.

There he was, dressed in the traditional Hasidic Sabbath outfit: the satin waistcoat with its braided string belt that separated his holy upper body from his profane lower half, the dark, wide-brimmed hat. He wore a magnificent prayer shawl over his shoulders. His father, the old man with the white beard who stood at the center at the bimah, seemed to be running the place, the way everyone was falling all over themselves to be respectful to him.

Well, well, she thought. A real saint.

She waited for him in the room where they served the kiddush—the traditional after-prayer refreshments—but the synagogue was so over-the-top frum, it had separate rooms for men and women. So she waited outside. He came out, a few paces behind his father, surrounded by men. But when he saw her, he lifted his head and a secret look passed between them.

She called him that night. She was the blonde who had been standing outside his father’s synagogue, she told him, and she had something she needed to talk to him about. They agreed to meet in the Village. When he showed up, he was again dressed in his leather jacket.

I’m just here to tell you what a bum you are was her opening line.

You’re fast. Usually, it takes women at least one date to find that out. He smiled.

That girl you dumped last Saturday night? Well, she happens to be a friend of mine.

She was pretty anxious to get rid of me. So I helped her out.

You stuck her with the check and left her stranded.

What happened to women’s lib? Don’t you girls carry cabfare?

She only had enough left for the subway, you creep. She laughed.

He took a step closer. And you came here to tell me off, is that right?

Well, what other reason could I have? she asked demurely, lowering her eyes.

He took her arm and tucked it between his bended elbow, patting her hand. The forbidden feel of his male skin against hers was exciting, as well as the fact that he’d done it on his own, without asking permission. Some of her other dates had actually asked straight out, How religious are you? Idiots. What did they expect a girl to do, give them a road map and a list of directions? To tell them, Not religious at all, just do anything you want? Her answer was always the same: Very. The date ahead never failed to be a disaster.

Yitzie thrilled her. They met in places she had never been. Top of the Sixes, where she ordered her first daiquiri, which made her feel all warm and happy. Avant-garde movie theaters showing films by Godard that were so shocking and lewd she’d once actually run from the theater. To make it up to her, he’d bought her tickets to the opera at Lincoln Center. Orchestra seats. She’d worn a very form-fitting dress covered with silver glitter with a high collar of white silk and matching white cuffs, which she’d sneaked past the dorm mother under her prim black winter coat. She’d piled her hair on top of her head. Later, while she was in the lobby waiting for him to get her a Coke, two obviously tipsy middle-aged men had approached her with lewd smiles, about to say something when Yitzie showed up and they steered abruptly in the opposite direction. She looked at herself in the glass windows of the lobby. She looked ravishing and a bit slutty, she thought, wavering between embarrassment and

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3.2
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  • (1/5)
    I´m not Jewish nor religious and I had never read anything by Naomi Ragen but I´m curious to understand how religion can affect someone´s entire life. Found this book in a second-hand bookshop in Sao Paulo, Brazil – very far from NY or Israel and started reading it out of curiosity. In the end, I managed to learn a thing or two about Orthodox Judaism rituals and in particular what’s expected of a rabbi´s wife. It´s a fast read and when I finished the overall feeling was that the narrative never left the surface, the constant satire and stereotyping became annoying and the main character – Delilah (the rabbi´s wife) never came alive. She is just highly unlikeable throughout. And whilst the author rightly exposes the double standards and hypocrisy of many religious people, to make Chaim (the rabbi) saintly, not very bright, the one we should feel sorry for was not convincing. But the ending was certainly the most disappointing. I wanted to know what happened to Delilah and Chaim.
  • (4/5)
    Jewish chick-lit!
  • (3/5)
    I found it hard to read a book where I (and clearly the author) dislikes the main character. I felt no empathy for Deliliah, and not only that, she annoyed me greatly. She was a winey, obnoxious, stuck up, boring woman who didn't love or even like her husband Chaim, and hated being a rabbi's wife.
  • (2/5)
    Delilah Levi is a young Jewish woman from a middle-class family who aspires to much greater things and let no one get in her way. I realize this is a satire, but there is absolutely nothing sympathetic about Delilah. She is a one-note song: selfish, conniving, narcissistic, etc. I believe the main character has to be flawed to have a good story, but there also has to be some redeeming character trait. There were absolutely none in Delilah. On a positive note, the ending was very good but not quite enough to make up for the rest of the book. Disappointing read.
  • (2/5)
    This was just another book to be read. I found nothing memorable about it, neither the story line nor the characters. It was boring and I had to force myself to finish it. If this was satirical then surely I do not know the meaning of the word.I cannot recommend it.
  • (3/5)
    Not her best. This book is self-conscious, both about her previous books and also about taking this satire "all the way." Sarcastically funny, but not as enjoyable as other books of the same genre.